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From the I'm Books series

Ironically, boring.

A kid and a tuber dispute what is and isn’t boring, to no particular avail.

The beginning’s fun. A scowling, cartoon-style girl with a large head and sideways pigtails flops from one dramatic posture to another, complaining, “I’m bored. / Bored. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. / I’m so BORED!” White space surrounds her. From nowhere, a potato appears. This girl must really live in white-space-land, because she’s initially thrilled: “Hey! A potato!” Then she rejects it and tosses it upwards. It falls, bonks her on the head and sits on the ground. “I’m bored,” announces the suddenly anthropomorphic potato in one of two genuinely funny moments. Previously unable to entertain herself, the girl labors to prove she’s interesting. She demonstrates cartwheels, ninja kicks and imagination games—lion taming; dragons and swords; forcing the potato to walk a pirate-ship plank—all of which Ohi sketches in pale blue. The surly potato stubbornly remains bored. Their argument ends without satisfaction or vindication; the girl yells, mouth wide and black like in Peanuts, and departs in frustration. There’s one more funny moment—not the appearance of a random flamingo (flamingos being, inexplicably, the potato’s only interest in life), but the flamingo’s closing complaint. Yep: “I’m bored.” Turnabout’s fair play, but the whole piece feels like a smarmy lesson about how annoying it is when someone insists on boredom.

Ironically, boring. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1403-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This lost little dog will easily find a place in children’s hearts.

A terrifying adventure set against an icy backdrop turns into a heartwarming tale of one canine’s remarkable courage and resilience.

This sweet picture book recounts the amazing true tale of a dog discovered floating on an ice floe on the Vistula River off Poland in January 2010. No one knows where the animal comes from or how it has found itself in this predicament. Trapped it is, however, as it drifts 75 miles downriver for two days, defying rescue attempts. Finally, a scientific vessel, the R/V Baltica, spots the freezing, sodden, starving animal, and a crewman saves it, not without considerable difficulty. After recovering, the dog is nicknamed “Baltic,” and it remains aboard to become a beloved, valued crew member. The story is told simply and charmingly. The author’s use of the present tense gives the narrative immediacy, and with very brief sentences, some dialogue and questions posed to readers, Carnesi imbues the tale with a strong sense of drama that will captivate young listeners. Her ink-and-watercolor illustrations are child-appealing and effectively capture the dog’s desperation and eventual contentment. An author’s note with accompanying photographs places events in context and brings the story to a very satisfying conclusion.

This lost little dog will easily find a place in children’s hearts. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25666-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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